tv [untitled] CSPAN June 21, 2009 2:30am-3:00am EDT
than you can make in normal times. franklin delano roosevelt did the speech in 1932, and even performed -- and even tougher time than it is now. here is what he said to a class in 1932. he said that yours is not a task of making your way in the world, but the task of making about remaking the world which you will find before you. so will you, which then all this difficulty, there is incredible potential and promise. york tasked with finding that promise. -- you are tasked with finding that promise. young lawyers are to play an absolutely pivotal role.
whatever difficulties might be facing, it is true, also, you have the ability to participate in transformational work that will take full advantage of your abilities, and i hope to get the chance to do that . it is hard to turn your back on security and lucrative opportunities, even if you thought that that is not where you wanted to be. it was hard to look for some other things. what i hope, actually, is that
as the bonuses become a little less big and financial security seems little bit less than it has in recent years, it will have this silver lining. it will say, what direction do i really want to go in? what will make me get up every morning with that smile on my face? if i have one of frustration with our law school students, and i have said this, if i have one frustration is that they do not do enough of what ellen cross growth talked-about, taking risks. i think of it as being open to chance, been open to serendipity. when i look at my life, people
say, you have had this great career. how did it happen? the truth is, nothing in it was planned. there was no step where i said, oh, that is what i will do in x number of years. if i have one challenge that has gotten this far, as well as all look -- all the luck, is just being opened to things happening. to not planning so much, taking advantage of what comes, to looking for new and exciting and different opportunities. and that is what i hope all of you will do, as well. not just to follow the tried and true path, but to look outside of it and be open to all kinds of new and exciting and interesting things back. i will give you two more pieces of advice.
here are my two other pieces of advice. the first echo's david kessler. the thing about coming last after all of these people, especially at a ceremony where everybody says the same things but says them because they are true, is that i will be repeating and have repeated a bunch of things. but here is what david said. i cannot say enough, in addition to taking risks, the best piece of advice i will give you is to make friends along the way, and keep those friends. you have already done that. i told you this in my orientation speech, when i said to you how you should take advantage of harvard law school.
i said, as much as you can learn from the faculty, you will learn more from the people around you, more from the students of harvard law school. and i know what so many of you have done. i know you have taken advantage of those opportunities, and those opportunities keep getting through life. when i talk to people about costs -- how i have landed in various places and why my career has taken the twists and turns along the way, what i also find is that i'm talking about friends of mine. i know this person and that person. the thing about life at this time -- this happened a few years ago, but i will tell you now. it is not about the grades anymore. it is not about who has the better resume.
it is much more about, do people admire you? trust you? like you? those are the things that make great friends, and also the things that build careers. whatever reason you do it for, and i hope you do it for both, the instrumental and non instrumental reasons as well -- keep your friends. keep the friends you make throughout life. your friends and family provide the joy of life, and there is nothing more important to do. finally, one last piece of advice, which is little bit odd to say and a law school ceremony.
but if there is one talent, one ability that i hope you cultivate in yourself, it is this -- and it is odd and in law school ceremony because and we think often that what we teach you to do of law school is we teach you to talk. we teach you socratic method to be forceful and articulate in your view, to speak in public, a press -- express your opinions cogently and well. but the truth of the matter is, if you come out as talkers, you are going to miss something important in your life. the most important talent you can cultivate is a talent to listen. nobody ever learned anything while they were talking. you only learn something when you're years are ope not when your mouth is opened. when your ears are open to people of all kinds of different
backgrounds and views, that is also when and how you create relationships, build bridges, and forms teams almost out of which all great work and accomplishments come. cultivate your listening skills. ok. that is what i learned at harvard law school. that is what i've learned as been, and a faculty member here, and most importantly, as a student here, as well. i'm going to leave you with one must look -- last fought. this is my seventh year on the stage, and the last five, i have given the speech tell how old will give tomorrow -- that how
old -- howell will give tomorrow. for the last several years, i said the following in the speech. i always said that of all law school class is graduating this year, this class, the harvard law school class of 2009 will have the greatest influence, the greatest power, and the greatest impact on the world. this is very interesting to me, because when i used to say that, it may have been because of the way i said it, but everybody would start to clap. everybody was sort of a plot, and i would say, wait a minute. do not clap. do not applaud.
there is nothing in what i just said to make a clap. what is worthy of applause, of course, is not that all of you will have all of that influence and power and impact, though it is true that you will. what is worthy of applause is whether you will use all of that power and influence and impact for good purposes, to advanced rule of law, to promote justice, to serve people other than yourself, and to enhance human well-being. that is what i hope for you, and knowing as i do, that is what i expect of you. fellow graduates of 2009, all of my warmest congratulations and all my deepest love. [applause]
>> you are watching c-span's "america and the courts." next, leah ward sears. >> well, john marshall has come a long way, baby. i am glad to see you all here today. thank you so much, dr. markowitz, dean lynn, and all of the john marshall community for conferring this honorary degree on me this afternoon. i cannot tell you how deeply honored i am to receive such a distinguished award from what is a distinguished law school. you have worked hard, earned everything you have, and i'm very proud, as are all the
members of the court. thank you, kevin, for that generous and gracious introduction. good afternoon it is so good to see all of you. thank you for letting me be part of this celebration, your celebration, said it marks the end of one part of your life and the exciting beginning of a new chapter. to the graduates, congratulations on your academic achievements and on the relationships that you have cultivated while here. i hope the connections he made at this school will forever in
rich your lives. and to the parents and families, congratulations to you, too. some you should feel an accomplishment, because i know you have made many sacrifices to see your loved ones sitting right here today. each of you can sit there and pat yourself on the back, also. who knows what great minds you have helped shape these past years. please allow me the personal privilege of recognizing my husband,hose gift of conversation and critique are priceless, and whose life and love give me my greatest inspiration and support. without the in during face she puts in me, i would be a different sort -- without a faith he puts in me, i would be
a different sort of person today. today i want to give you some insight i have gleaned after pondering a couple of questions asked of me by a reporter some years ago. she had found out i was soon to become the first african- american woman to preside over georgia state appellate court. she asked, what do you make of the unique diversity of the georgia supreme court? the second question was whether or not i thought my particular presence and my beliefs made any difference by being there. both of these questions caught me off-guard. there was so much work to do as a justice that quite frankly, i had not spent a lot of time thinking about what i have learned from the differences among the various justices.
of freedom and fairness and truth and justice and hard work. we all possess, aspirations. we all want a decent, affordable home, a fulfilling a job, healthy and educated children, and most of all, a loving family. we all feel the same emotions, for the most part. joy at the birth of a child, sadness and loss, at the death of a loved one, and anger at those who disrespect us. but the more i thought about it, the more i realized that my answer that we are all the same was perhaps not the right one. maybe just a bit too glib for it. in many ways, we're not all the same. we are quite different, shaped
by unique experiences and the distinct environments that have made our lives what they are. whether they are defined by race, gender, religion, or where we live, a big city, a small town, a world, a great legal system like the one you are about to join, just like the great law school you are about to leave, is made richer by the diverse background and participants and experiences of its participants. by the same token, our legal community will not be able to respond to the needs of all citizens at communities if lawyers and judges and jurors are all cast in the same mold. so you see what i should have
told that reporter was, yes, i think i have brought something new and different to the table. all of the justices have, because we are also different. let me give you this example. i have a colleague who knows the name of every single county seat in the state of georgia. but if someone did not tell him, he would not know who t.i. or lindsay lohan was. if you ask some justices what "american idol," is, i think only just as mountain and i would think of atom lambert or the television show for it. the other justices might think of abraham lincoln. some of the justices are great
gardners, love to dig in the dirt in their spare time. but for me -- gardening is not for me. it is not right for me. i tend to be a city girl. most of us are more apt, when they think about diversity, to think of it in broad cultural terms related to differences in music or art or literature or food or the like. this is because it is often challenging to develop genuine relationships with people who are not like us. people who require us to better appreciate the unique strengths that each person possesses and
what real diversity brings. my eyes of been opened to the new and different world by my colleagues as well as by the lawyers who practice before the court. this has indeed made it more fulfilling and livelier than i could have ever anticipated, and i have witnessed and level of courage and commitment and self control and perseverance to which all public servants much -- must aspire. trust is to lubricant that fuels a great democracy.
mostly, we bask in the warm attachments that had grown between us over the years. more together than we are apart, but apart when necessary, agreeing to disagree, but rarely being disagreeable, and how fortunately we are that we can live like that. i hope you'll come to see that the united states of america, there are differences and disputes among family members from time to time, but you who represent the future must see to it that the ties that bind our families together are preserved and maintained.
you must work to preserve that trust. to respond to the second question posed by the reporter, do my beliefs make a difference in the court, i have always had a real hard time making people understand that my beliefs in not matter at all as a supreme court justice. people just do not believe it. but my colleagues and i follow the law as reflected in the cases, the statutes, and the constitution, not my own personal view of what justice should look like. and my colleagues on the court did the same. i have no doubt that my view of justice grows out of a few principles my father instilled in me. many of the bell use are carved from rockefeller center in new
york city, a place i like to visit from time to time. the governed by parents' lives, and now govern mine. i, in turn, have passed on to my children, who one day will pass them onto there's. not only do i want to share them with you, but on this day of your graduation, i want to urge you to consider them as principles that might also guide your lives. there are 10 of those, and here they are. number one, i believe every human being is different, a testament to the creativity of god. i also believe in the inherent worth of every human being. number two, i believe the primary foundation of our behavior must be stability, civility, and morality. number three, i believe that every right involved responsibility.
number four, i believe that truth is fundamental and lies are corrosive, so you should never lie about anyone or anything. number five, i believe in the sacredness of a promise, so you must always on your bows and your commitment. number six, i believe character and integrity are more important than wealth or power or position. number seven, i believe we must love our neighbors and we love ourselves. number eight, i believe there are rights and wrongs, and not everything is relative. number nine, i believe that fear is a part of life, and sometimes you have to stare fear in the face simply to do what is right. no. 10, i believe that a wise and loving god, called by whatever name you may called
him and her, living in harmony with his will. my friends, this is how i approach my lives, and these have the principles i urge you to use to guide you in the days ahead. they are the cornerstone of the constitution of the united states of america and of the state of georgia. they are the basic rules forming the foundation for all the laws of this nation. they have never been proven wrong, and they have never been approved upon -- improved upon. keep them in your heart, teach them to your children, and never allow them to be taken away from you. i once wrote an opinion that this is not a perfect world in which we live. in a perfect world, parents would not divorce, and marriage would be treated as a sacred covenant. men and women who wanted to have
children would marry first, and all children would grow up with two loving parents and children would matter a lot, like they used to. in a perfect world, there would always be someone ready to lend a helping hand to someone else, and no one, old or young, would ever be abandoned or forgot nor alone. in a perfect world, violence or war would be unthinkable, as with poverty, bigotry, or prejudiced. everyone would have everything they needed. so i say to you today, as you go forth into this perfect world of hours and strive to make a difference as lawyers, be the sort of lawyer people will remember for your integrity. practice restraint and promote understanding, and if you must raise your voice, raised in the search for truth. do these things, and this
imperfect world of ours will be better for it, and you will have served the world in a good way. you are the inheritors of the world, and the future is in your loving hands. as a lawyer, you may never be as rich as bill gates or as wise as solomon. the official court of georgia may never recorder works. but you may insure that georgia, our state, becomes just and fair for everybody. if you can make one contribution to the law and the ideal of justice, one difference in the lives of just another person or mentor somebody coming up, if
you can see to it that a long response to the helpless where appropriate, and you can be a voice for the voiceless, if you can do your share to strike a fair balance between the needs of society and the rights of the individual, if you can use your education and success to help those still trapped in cycles of violence and poverty, 20 years from now, you will be able to be proud georgia lawyer, and i will be proud of you, too. good luck to all of you. i thank you very, very much. good luck. [applause] >> you can watch all of the commencement addresses from this program or any other recent programs at c-span.org. just click on "america and the courts." and join us network -- next week for "america and the
>> israeli foreign affairs minister. after that, former president clinton and skinny haulietenny . >> this week, on c-span newsmakers, california congressman pete stark discusses legislation going through congress. he talks about a proposal that would establish a public health insurance plan to complete -- to compete with private plans. >> if you choose to have competition, and you choose to have a plan that is dependable and a portable, you cannot do it w